Melissa Doss Palm Bay Florida woman charged with keeping severely autistic girl in cage inside filth strewn house with no working bathrooms.
Melissa Doss, 43, of Palm Bay told police she did so to keep the child from leaving the house.
Police were called to a home on Saturday following reports of a child inside the screened-in patio of a home, not theirs.
When officers arrived on the scene, they determined the child was nonverbal and had a disability cbs12news reported.
Responding officers deduced that the child who could not speak, lived next door.
‘At the end of her rope….’
When police went to the home, the child’s mother refused to open the door.
Doss told police she had been sleeping and didn’t know the child, a young female, had left the home.
When authorities finally gained entry into Doss’ home, they says they were hit with ‘the immediate smell of feces and urine (which) was strongly present,’ the Orlando Sentinel reported.
At one point during questioning, Doss said she was ‘at the end of her rope.’ She also told police if they saw the inside of her home they would call DCF.
Officers eventually gained access to the home and discovered un-habitable conditions, according to the police report. Garbage and filth was strewn all over the house, with no part of the floor visible.
The home had no working bathroom, with Doss telling police ‘they use the restroom in a bucket and throw the waste in the backyard.’
In a room, they found a cage with a mattress, pillow, and blanket. Doss said she kept the child inside the cage at night so they wouldn’t leave the house.
WESH 2 cited the police report noting that the female child would screaming to be let outside the cage in the morning.
Doss remained held pending a $22,500 bond following her arrest.
Not immediately clear was what services or community assistance was availed to the mother, and whether child services had been aware of the conditions at the girl’s home.
An investigator with the DCF was alerted a day after Doss’ arrest of the conditions at the home according to WESH2.